Protesters in northern Greece attacked a police station Wednesday, throwing office files and furniture out the building and setting it alight, in a village where frequent protests have been staged against plans to develop a gold mine by a Canadian mining company, authorities said.
The attack took place in the village of Ierissos after police special forces entered the homes of two local residents before dawn and arrested them over their alleged involvement in a February arson attack at the nearby gold mine installations.
Local campaigners fiercely oppose the plans to develop the mine by Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold Corp., contending that the venture will harm the economy in Greece's northern Halkidiki peninsula which relies heavily on farming and tourism.
The Public Order Ministry said the police station suffered extensive damage and would be closed indefinitely, with its staff and duties transferred to the regional capital, Polygyros, nearly 50 kilometers (30 miles) to the west.
Police said no officers were at the station at the time of the attack.
"A section of this local community is under the impression that is not governed by the law or the constitution and that it can take the law into its own hands ... Let's be clear: No one can have this right," Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias told private Skai radio.
The left-wing main opposition party, Syriza, which opposes the gold mining venture, accused Dendias of ordering an operation that resembled the actions of military special forces operating on enemy territory.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.